By Tim Bontemps


The Washington Post


(TNS) — It’s safe to say at this point that the Boston Celtics have benefited greatly from having home-court advantage in these playoffs.


Including their 108-83 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, Boston is now 8-0 in four games at TD Garden in these playoffs. Away from home, though, Boston is a combined 1-4 - including three losses to the Milwaukee Bucks in their first round series that went the distance with each team winning all of its home games.


After beating the Cavaliers by 27, Boston now has outscored its opponents by 89 points in eight home games - an average of more than 11 points per game. Meanwhile, in Boston’s five road games, they have been outscored by 45 points - an average of nine points per game.


Even when factoring in Boston traditionally having a big home-court advantage, a 20-point swing from home to road is wild. The other teams still in the playoffs - Golden State, Houston and Cleveland - have far smaller swings. It also makes sense, given Boston has a younger and more inexperienced team than the other conference finalists.


Still, that doesn’t take away from the impressive nature in which Boston bludgeoned Cleveland into submission Sunday. The Celtics shot 51.2 percent from the floor, went 11 for 30 from three (36.7 percent) and scored 93 of their 108 points either in the paint (60) or from behind the three-point arc (33).


Al Horford continued what has been a terrific postseason by going for 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting (his only two misses being from three) while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out six assists. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics in scoring with 23 points, while Marcus Morris had 21 points and 10 rebounds after being inserted into the starting lineup in place of Aron Baynes to guard LeBron James.


Cleveland, meanwhile, couldn’t hit a shot. The Cavaliers shot 36 percent overall, went 4 for 26 from three, and gave up 17 points off their 10 turnovers. LeBron James was far from his usual self, looking disengaged through most of the game while going for 15 points, seven rebounds on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0 for 5 from three, while committing seven turnovers and finishing a game-worst minus-32.


His teammates didn’t provide much help, though. Kevin Love led Cleveland with 17 points, but went 5 for 14 from the floor. J.R. Smith went 2 for 9 in 29 minutes. Kyle Korver went 1 for 5 from three. Tristan Thompson gave the Cavaliers decent minutes off the bench, but otherwise the second unit offered little (outside of some late, meaningless points from Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood).


It all added up to one truly ugly result for Cleveland - and yet another notch in Boston’s belt, as the underrated Celtics took yet another lead in a series they were predicted to lose. Now, after Boston’s dominant victory, the focus will shift back to Cleveland, and whether James can put this team on his back and do something no one else has managed to in this postseason: win a game in Boston.


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